Holding Off On Post-Baby Sex

Recent study finds most women wait longer than six weeks to have sex after giving birth.

post-baby-sex-at.jpg Jeff Lipsky

Sex is probably the last thing on your new-mom to-do list. But at around six weeks postpartum, doctors usually give new moms the go-ahead to resume their sex lives. But how many moms actually hit that target date?

The reality is that most new moms are waiting longer than six weeks after giving birth before having vaginal sex, according to Australian researchers, whose findings were published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Eight weeks and longer, to be more exact.

However, there is one detail to note: According to the findings, "sexual activity was resumed earlier than vaginal sex, with 53 percent resuming sexual activity by six weeks postpartum."

The new study of 1,507 first-time moms also found that 41 percent of women attempted vaginal sex by six weeks postpartum, 65 percent by eight weeks, 78 percent by 12 weeks and 94 percent by six months.

Women who had a Cesarean section or other medical interventions (such as an episiotomy or a birth with forceps) were less likely to resume having sex by the six-week mark.

In addition, new moms ages 18 to 24 were more likely to have restarted their sex lives by six weeks postpartum compared with those 30 to 34 years old.

Let's be honest, the first time back is probably not going to be great. In fact, it may be painful. Sex after having a baby poses unique challenges, so our The First Time page offers some fun solutions.

And if you're nervous about it, set your own timeline. You've been through a lot — emotionally and physically — so don't feel anxious about the six-week mark. Our Lost That Lovin' Feeling page gives you tips on how you can help your tender nether regions through this time.

Keep this in mind: You're not always going to be this tired, this nervous or this overwhelmed. After a while, new parents are ready for some level of passion. It just takes time and patience—from both of you.